Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Africa Tour ‘Has to Be a Success’: Why the Stakes Are High

The immense media and public scrutiny that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have faced this year could potentially be turned around with their royal tour of Africa. After taking some hits to their image, this tour could prove to be a huge part of improving their popularity and winning over some of their toughest critics.

prince harry meghan markle tour africa important
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Archie | Toby Melville – Pool/Getty Images

The Sussexes have been under fire

It seems that lately Prince Harry and Markle have faced a lot of backlash, from their demands for privacy, including holding a private christening ceremony for son Archie, to their pricey Frogmore Cottage renovations. Their critics had plenty to squawk about when the couple used private jets for their travels, as they were dubbed hypocrites for using gas-guzzling transportation while speaking out about environmental concerns.

Many have seen this royal tour as an opportunity to boost their image and erase some of the concerns the public and media have about the Sussexes. According to a report from the Daily Mail, a royal source shared ahead of the tour: “It’s pretty obvious to everyone that there can be no ifs, no buts, it has to go well for them. All Royal tours are traditionally fantastic opportunities to generate positive publicity, but this one really matters.”

Prince Harry and Markle have kept things low-key

During their long tour of Africa, Prince Harry and Markle have maintained a pretty casual approach, with the duchess even leaving her flashy engagement ring behind for the visit. One source told HELLO! that it was done in order to be “low key” during the tour.

Additionally, they did away with the typical royal protocol of bows and curtsies, with Vanity Fair reporter Katie Nicholl sharing that, according to a source, Prince Harry and Markle requested “minimal fuss, formality, and protocol” for the trip and asked that people address them by their first names.

The insider shared that the visit was important to the Sussexes so they can “meet as many South Africans as possible and make a difference where they can. This isn’t a holiday and they don’t want it to look like one. Their Royal Highnesses want to do some serious work on the ground, particularly at a community level.

Their tour “has to be a success”

Given all the criticism they have faced this year, Nicholl shares in a Vanity Fair piece that while “the stakes are high for any royal tour this elaborate and long,” the Sussexes’ “trip to Africa carries particular weight — and senior aides acknowledge that the tour has to be a success.”

Nicholl added: “Aides say this will be the first of many trips to Africa for the couple, an opportunity to prove they are not just celebrity royals, but important and vital ambassadors for the Royal Family. After a summer of scathing headlines about their private jet use, the Sussexes will fly commercial for their first long haul flight with baby Archie. And the expectations will be high once they get there.”

She noted: “Their tour last fall to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga was a rousing success, but also came just months after their wedding and immediately after Meghan had announced her pregnancy.”

This time around, Nicholl shares, there’s been a lot of criticism of the couple and they’ve “hired an American PR firm to help with damage control,” with sources remarking that “they hope the upcoming trip will help turn the tide.”

Nicholl noted: “They and their aides know this tour has to be a success, and everything has been planned meticulously so there is no margin for error.”